This is a streak now. Multiple years of forgetting. No flowers. No gift. Not even a card.
It started with our fifth, which we “celebrated” by watching a water softener demonstration. We should have been out having a nice dinner; instead we were standing at our kitchen sink thumbing a stream of water as if it were fine silk. “How does that feel,” the Culligan lady asked, and we both ooh’ed and aah’ed at the velvety softness of our normally hard water. She must have thought we were a sure sale.
Truth was, we had no intention of buying a water softener. We’d been duped into the demonstration. One day a man called saying he was conducting a simple, one-question survey. “Are you concerned about water quality,” he asked me. “Yes,” I told him, which was true. I was worried about water. And air, and just about anything having to do with the environment. Next day Jim got a call from a woman who said “Your wife is concerned about the quality of your water.” So there we were, playing polite hosts to Lady Culligan and hoping the promised gift — a griddle — would, at least, make it worth our trouble. (It didn’t. The “griddle” turned out to be a thin metal disc that fits over a burner; it’s only use so far as I could figure was to heat flour tortillas.)
We’ve probably forgotten every anniversary since, with one exception. Last year, our 15th, Jim got me the bride-and-groom-on-moped card and a big wooden box from Mexico with saints painted in bright colors. I’m sure he didn’t realize that crystal was the traditional gift for the 15th wedding anniversary, wood for the fifth. Or maybe he was making up for the griddle. In any case, I loved the box; I use it to hold my watercolor paints. I didn’t get him anything being as how I didn’t break my streak.
I’m kind of glad we’re both back to forgetting this year. And, apparently, we picked a good one to forget. According to the people who keep track of such things, once you pass the first 15 years, traditional anniversary gifts are only given for years that end in five or zero. So, it’s not like I missed out on china (20th), silver (25th), or pearls (30th). Although these days retailers have come up with the concept of “modern” anniversary gifts to fill in the in-between years. Hollowware (as opposed to flatware) is what one gives for the 16th. To which I say, “Thanks, but no thanks.”
We did eventually both remember it was our anniversary. Around noon on the big day, Em jogged our memory by asking what the date was. Jim and I laughed as soon as it hit us. Well, here’s to another 16 years! Hopefully we’ll remember one or two along the way.